Thursday, January 05, 2012
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Yesterday, January 4th, marked the first day back from the holiday break and the beginning of the new semester. In the tradition of Lasallian schools, we begin each class with prayer. Quite often, I use the website, Praying Each Day, http://www.prayingeachday.org/reflect.html for the prayer of the day.
The prayer for yesterday focused on Sir Isaac Newton. Who else would be a more appropriate focus for a prayer for the beginning of a science class? However, it is in this prayer that we can see how all educators and their students should approach both teaching and learning. I can not find a better way to articulate what the focus of education should be.
Isaac Newton was born on January 4th 1643. What is Newton remembered for?
He developed Calculus, a branch of mathematics.
In studies of light, he showed via a prism that sunlight is made of a spectrum of
colors - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.
Newton formulated Three Laws of Motion, which led to his theory of Universal Gravitation
(often remembered in the incident of the falling apple).
Newton’s work was a turning point in science, but he acknowledged that his progress and success were built on the hard work and achievements of people before him:
“If I have seen further,
it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
There is so much that I don’t know, and I ask you to inspire me with a thirst for knowledge.
I pray, too, for wisdom and understanding that I may use my knowledge well.
I give thanks for many people I have never met whose knowledge and understanding have been passed on to me.
I ask that I may benefit from their work and experience and may contribute, in turn, to the
well-being of others.